Saturday, October 20, 2018

Homegrown Linen: transforming flaxseed into fibre

Ever wondered how to grow your own yarn?

Flax gives us two harvests from one plant.  The seeds and the cloth - and yes, you can get both from the same harvest no matter what They tell you.  How do I know this?  Because I've been obsessing about flax for years and decided to find out what is really possible and what bits of advice are just superstition.

Spoiler alert: most of it is superstition.  

Flax is way more versatile than it looks.  You can get cloth from seed flax and you can get delicious seed from fibre flax.  

So now you know what I've been up to all these months.  A crazy adventure writing and creating a book.  

There are a few days left on my Kickstarter where you can pre-order the book Homegrown Linen: transforming flaxseed into fibre at a discount.  

We are hoping to have it available in stores in February.

If you want to order a book or carry the book in your store, you can find me at:

Crowing Hen Farm

Friday, June 22, 2018

Crowing Hen has arrived

I have my own website: Crowing Hen Farm 

It's all about the family farm, yarn adventures, with more being added almost daily.

find out why we call it Crowing Hen here

Sunday, June 11, 2017


This is Larry as a little lamb.

He's all grown up now, 200plus pounds of trouble, but boy oh boy, does he make marvellous yarn.

This is the yarn as it comes off the wheel.  It's lively.

I block the yarn and it looks like this.

The grey yarn is from the spot and there are about 700 yards of it.  There are a little over 3 thousand yards of white.  I wonder what I can make.

Total time from fleece to yarn - 30 hours (ten days)

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

blue handwoven bathroom towels.

I finally finished my first set of handwoven bathroom hand towels.

These towels are super absorbent and fast dry.  They are also very squishy!  A complete delight to use, but I must admit, I was very nervous while making them.

The warp has a random-ish pattern to it.  I wound four colours at once, then threaded them onto the loom as they came to me.  It looked good in the sample facecloths I wove, but I was nervous to see how it would look on a larger scale.

The neat thing about winding four yarns at once on a warp instead of the usual one at a time is that it goes about 20 times faster.  One doesn't have to stop and count so often, and it's just way more fun this way.  So when I had finished my blue warp, I was in the zone.  I quickly wound a second warp but this time, I used up little bits and bobs of yarn I had left over for an even more random effect.

I used 8/2 cotton set at 20epi.  I choose this draft because it has a 1/3 twill - one up, three down - which is very quick and easy on a direct tie up jack loom like mine.   As you can see, the fabric is a different colour on the other side.  I think, if it wasn't for such a colourful warp, the 'back side' would be the main side as it has a much stronger waffle look than the 'front'.

On the whole, very happy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How I use the Ashford raddle

Getting the raddle for my Ashford Table Loom made a huge difference to how well I can warp my loom.  Before, I was having tension issues, not any longer.  It's really fast and I can have the warp spread out and ready to wind on the back beam in less time than it takes to boil the kettle (even including the time it took to take photos).

This is a 25" (on loom) wide warp in 8/2 cotton at 20epi.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Waffle weave samples in blue

 This is my very first time weaving waffle weave.  Well, at least, I think it's waffle weave.  It certainly has a texture to it.

I used 8/2 cotton set at 20epi.  I choose this draft because it has a 1/3 twill - one up, three down - which is very quick and easy on a direct tie up jack loom like mine.


 I think it turned out beautifully.  The pictures don't do it justice.  The warp is a random mix of four colours, and each of the four cloths is a different, single colour weft.  This make the fabric look different front and back.  I choose the warp dominant side for the front, but it was a tough decision.  here's the 'back'.

 The next question is, do any of these match the bathroom?  If so, which one and do I want to make a set of towels like this?

Texture wise, these are fantastic.  Definitely bathroom towel texture.  So even if these aren't the right colour, I think I found a good draft.

One challenge was the edge.  I used a floating selvedge, but still, I got big floats next to the edge.

These didn't go away with the wash, so I'm wondering if I could change where in the pattern I put the edges, if this will fix the problem.  At the moment, the edges stop and start at shaft 1.  What if I changed that to be like...

See my yellow box?

What do you think?

My head is full of all sorts of possibilities for this pattern.  It's stretchy and warm, perfect for a cardigan.  How about if I used a 24epi sett and made a bathrobe from it?  It would be absolutely lovely as a bath towel, maybe if I wove panels and blanket stitched them together?

Sunday, February 05, 2017

apparently some people in town don't have snow.

This was yesterday while I was on the phone to a friend.  I took this while talking with her.  20-minute phone call and almost half an inch of snow in that time.

She's only 20-minute drive from my home and she hasn't had any snow.  Here I am shovelling the driveway 5 times in three days (if we don't shovel it, it partly melts then freezes for a pain in the arse experience - as in a sudden, sharp pain when arse collides with driveway).

Our weather is so localized that we can have a foot of snow (well, 8 inches) and in town they haven't a flurry.